Aluminum as an Inclusion
This is part three of a
series on using aluminum as an inclusion in glass. Click here
to go to part one.
Although inclusions with aluminum tend to be fully fused most
of the time, interesting effects
sometimes emerge when firing to a lower temperature. For
example, firing an
aluminum inclusion to around 1250 to 1300F (675 to 700C) will fuse
the edges of the glass together but still leave the aluminum intact.
The paint on soft drink cans, for instance, will lose its color and
darken, but the text will still remain legible. See the photo
below for an example:
Since aluminum tends to be non-reactive with other substances,
it is usually one of the safest metals for experimentation in the
kiln. However, there are two situations that call for care
when working with aluminum:
First, take care that stray pieces of aluminum don't fall onto
the kiln shelf. It's possible for the pieces to eat through
the kiln wash and into the kiln shelf. It's not hazardous, but
it can be a mess to clean.
Second, avoid experimenting with aluminum powder, which can
irritate the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract. It's also
flammable and can burn violently at temperatures above 1400F/760C.
Other forms of aluminum are generally fine in the kiln, but to be
safe it's a good idea to avoid the powder.
Copyright 2006 Brad Walker.
All rights reserved.